The Scottish Education Awards recognise schools and centres that have developed a vibrant and progressive culture and climate of continuous innovation.
The culture and ethos should promote respect, ambition and achievement while improving outcomes for all learners in ways which eliminate inequity.
Nominations should include practical activities and projects that the establishment has undertaken, detailing the impact these strategies have had on pupils, staff, parents and the community.
In what ways has this partnership impacted on:
Nominations close at 12 noon on Monday 15 February 2016
NOMINATE TODAY AT http://www.scottisheducationawards.org.uk/
Our bespoke support for schools and Parent Councils is starting to take effect. One of the first things we do when meeting with the school and Parent Councils is ask them about what they are doing. Using SPTC’s model of the areas of work for Parent Councils (school matters, communication, campaigning and social and fundraising) we get a full picture of what’s happening in the school, what opportunities parents have to get involved and the areas where the school and Parent Council want to develop. Simply having the chance to reflect on what they are doing can be really valuable to Parent Councils- an opportunity to see the wider picture beyond planning the Christmas Fair and recruiting volunteers to help with school trips. Having these discussions often prompts some great ideas for what they could do to over-come barriers like language- including advertising for help translating facebook posts into other languages or building links with local community groups.
As well as providing the space to think about how to engage with ethnic minority parents, Gathered Together is able to share the barriers that ethnic minority parents have shared with us. One of the issues is simply that parents who are not from Scotland don’t know that they can get involved
No one asked me (Mother, Iran)
It can really help to approach parents directly and ask them to help with something specific that uses their skills and experience- such as helping with “language of the month”. When we were discussing this with a teacher she said
Of course, we don’t just ask the children with their hands up to answer questions (teacher, Corpus Christi Primary)
Thinking of how to directly engage with those parents who aren’t involved and may not even be aware that they can be is the first step to promoting parental involvement in the school. We are really excited about the bespoke support and looking forward to sharing more of the ideas that are coming out of our work- keep an eye on this blog
With the recent arrival of families from Syria we have been thinking about the experiences of parents from asylum seeker backgrounds and their relationship with school. Asylum seekers, like other migrant families, are new to the Scottish education system and often new to English. They will need support to be able to help their children with their learning and to understand how their children are being taught. Asylum seeker children also may be traumatised by their experiences in their home country and in the journey to the UK. Schools are the first communities that they will come into contact with and even small acts can make a big difference to helping families feel welcomed
The teachers try to speak Arabic to us, some words, at the school there is a lot of culture awareness, teachers and pupils are kind. My kids have never been bullied. It also provides Halal food. Flags of a lot of countries are put up on the walls of the school (Both parents, Syria)
Gathered Together conducted a questionnaire of over 164 parents from ethnic minorities about their experiences of school, their involvement and knowledge of the Scottish education system, from this questionnaire we identified 16 respondents who were from asylum seeker or refugee backgrounds including countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. From analysing their responses it was clear that, while the majority of parents were really happy with their child’s school they did not feel that they understood the education system and the exam system. We believe that parents are partners in their children’s learning and they need the right support to be able to work with the school to enable their children to thrive.
I would like to know more- how to help my son in his homework, but I don’t know how (Mother, Iraq)
You can read the briefing paper on the experiences of asylum seeker families and our recommendations here
For the past two years Gathered Together has been supporting parents from ethnic minorities to become more involved in their children’s learning and school communities. We’ve been working directly with schools, Parent Councils and parents from ethnic minorities (you can read about our work with EM parents and the good practice that’s going on in schools and Parent Councils here). We know that engaging with parents who are new to Scotland can be a challenge and also how important it is that these parents are supported to be able to help their children’s learning and be part of the school community. We also know how much parents from other cultures can bring to schools- helping children learn about other cultures, religions and languages and to become responsible citizens
This term we are planning to support six schools or Parent Councils, providing bespoke support to meet the needs of the individual school/ Parent Council to engage more effectively with families from ethnic minorities. Our support is up to 10 contact hours and the bulk of the support would need to take place by December 2015
The support will include:
If you have any questions please email email@example.com or phone 0141 548 8047.
Complete this form Bespoke-support-application-form (3)
The deadline for applications is 14 September 2015 (applications to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lorna Anderson, an English as an Additional Language teacher based in Glasgow, has taken time out from her dissertation writing and written a blog for us about her work with the families of the children she supports.
I have recently completed the Post Graduate Certificate in Supporting Bilingual Learners in the Mainstream Classroom. We had to carry out a project that addressed concerns we had around supporting EAL learners. Where I worked at the time, parents with limited English language rarely engaged with the school. I talked to these parents at parents’ night and found that they lacked confidence and didn’t believe they could be involved in their child’s learning due to the language barrier. Supporting their children with homework was the biggest issue, as it was generally the traditional tasks such as spelling and writing sentences. Parents prioritised their child’s ability to use English and placed little value on their own first language. I decided to run a series of workshops, with help from interpreters, for these parents on supporting their children with homework. I focused very much on the positives, what parents could do to help.
Firstly, we looked at the reading books that went home and the types of literacy skills they could develop with them using the visuals – regardless of what language the words were written in; skills such as making predictions, recounting the story, speculating and sequencing. I emphasised that developing the ability to make reasoned predictions, for example, is the same skill no matter what language it is in, and that research had proven that you can transfer concepts to a second language effectively if they are embedded in the first. We practiced asking good questions, and the children had the opportunity to come and work with their parent(s) on the aspect we had been looking at that day.
Secondly, it was important to emphasise the value of maintaining first language at home. I made up a series of story packs, which contained a dual language story with supporting games and props. Parents could use these in the same way as the homework reading books to develop literacy skills, plus use the dual language text to share stories and talk about them together at home. These were loaned out weekly and swapped for a new one the following. They were a great success, and very popular with both parents and children!
The parents all said they felt much more confident at the end of the project and were very grateful for the support. Some of them came into school later that year to read stories in their own languages to different classes – something they said they wouldn’t have even considered before. That was the best outcome I could have hoped for!